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Kirsten’s Email Template

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Here is the fundraising email that Kirsten Glass used to raise over $8,700 in 4 weeks. Learn how she did it here. There are a couple things to note: It was personalized…

WE ARE POWERFUL: A Lesson I Learned Meeting Grandma Tekela in Zambia

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“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from indomitable will.” – Mahatma Gandhi This is Tekela. I met Grandma Tekela just over a year before she passed away….

19 Ideas to Help you Fundraise for your Trip

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1) Send your friends and family a letter: (Best way to get started!) Mothers Without Borders (MWB) can provide you with a form letter you can personalize and send out. They have…

How I Raised Over $8,700 in 4 weeks

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I don’t know how to fundraise. I am by no means an expert. I have done it once about 15 years ago, but that’s it. For Mothers Without Borders I...

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Kirsten’s Email Template

By | Expeditions, Fundraising | No Comments

Here is the fundraising email that Kirsten Glass used to raise over $8,700 in 4 weeks. Learn how she did it here.

There are a couple things to note:

  • It was personalized for every single person that it was sent to.
  • It is simple!
  • You can hear Kirsten as you read it. It isn’t boring or monotone – instead it is fun, personal, and upbeat.

Feel free to use this template as an example to create your own! We recommend that everyone that is fundraising for their trip create a personal fundraising campaign page to make the process easier for your donors.

Hi Allysen & Melina & Zola & biggest cat the world has ever seen:

How are you guys? Hope all is well. How are you liking the snow? It’s 72 today in Santa Monica and I love it. Let me know if you want to visit again and warm up. I hear there is vacancy at the Casa Del Mar. Talk to you soon! Speaking of warm places….

I have some great news: This July I am taking time off from work and the family to go to Zambia (!) for a few weeks to volunteer with an organization called Mothers Without Borders (MWB).  As you may know, the AIDS pandemic in Africa is creating orphans on a scale unrivaled in world history. It is estimated that there are more than 43 million orphaned children in sub Saharan Africa alone. So I’m going to Africa!

I discovered MWB (www.motherswithoutborders.org) through another parent at Kai’s preschool who explained that the organization’s mission is to nurture and care for orphaned children. MWB achieves this by supporting local, community-based programs that provide safe shelter, nutritious food, clean water, education, and more as well as with volunteers. I have the opportunity to go with MWB to assist with their programs and help orphaned children in need through a humanitarian experience. I am very excited to have this remarkable opportunity and am writing today to ask for your help.

The total cost for my volunteer expedition is about $5,000. I am kindly asking friends to please support this work by making a personal or corporate contribution directly to MWB DONATE HERE (please put “July 2015 team/KirstenGlass” in the “please apply my donation to” box). MWB is a 501 © 3 non-profit corporation, so your donation is tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Please know that every donation helps! If you have questions, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you for your support!

-Kirsten

WE ARE POWERFUL: A Lesson I Learned Meeting Grandma Tekela in Zambia

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“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from indomitable will.” – Mahatma Gandhi


This is Tekela.tekela-4

I met Grandma Tekela just over a year before she passed away. This beautiful soul taught me more than I ever thought I could learn from someone who didn’t speak any english.

tekela-1She had faced more adversity than anyone I had previously met, yet when our team arrived at her home, we were greeted with dancing & laughter – not what I expected from a 90-something-year-old! She has just returned home from “picking”. She would walk to the landfill and search for things of value that could be sold. Then she would take whatever money she earned to get food for her family. They often went days without food.

Throughout her life she would care for others, as mother & grandmother, but she would also often house orphaned or otherwise vulnerable children within her community. Despite the adversity of being robbed & beaten close to death, she chose to hold on to her faith, always knowing & trusting that her God knew who she was, what she was troubled with, & how to comfort her.tekela-2

This remarkable being gave me some of the most precious gifts that I will keep in my heart forever. She taught me about forgiveness, about humor, about divinity. Her example is one of my greatest sources of inspiration & my faith.

I know without a second thought, that who we are is powerful, able, & even limitless beings. Because of Grandma Tekela’s sweet spirit & endless persistence, I know that no matter what life hands me, I have everything I need within me to help me navigate through this journey with grace, love, & compassion. This to me is a piece of the miracle of grace.

I will always love her. To me she will always be the embodiment of perseverance, strength, grace, hope, resilience, compassion, truth, authenticity, & love.

tekela-3

 

 

19 Ideas to Help you Fundraise for your Trip

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1) Send your friends and family a letter: (Best way to get started!) Mothers Without Borders (MWB) can provide you with a form letter you can personalize and send out. They have also recently made it possible for you to create your own online fundraising campaign on their website. This makes it very easy to get the word out about your campaign and invite your friends and family to donate.

You can send your own heartfelt email. (Read how one volunteer raised $8,000 in 2 weeks through emails) We’ve had people raise between $300-2000 just with the mail letter alone.

2) Donations instead of gifts: People have asked that instead of presents for Christmas, b-days, other days that people donate to MWB in their name instead. One sweet lady from my team last year just did this last week. She put a message on her Facebook page saying that she was turning 40 the next day and that instead of gifts, lunches, flowers, she would love to buy at least one bicycle for the children at our orphanage who travel 6 miles to attend high school each day. Each bicycle costs $200. She wound up raising enough money to buy ALL 6 needed bikes plus had money to sponsor a child in school for a year.

3) Matching Funds: Some people work for companies (or their spouse, sibling, parent, friend does) that offering corporate matching on donations to 501(c)3 charities like MWB. You donate a dollar and they match it by donating a dollar and sometimes more! People have gotten half or more of their trip paid for this way. Email tanner@motherswithoutborders.org if you have any questions about matching funds.

I even know a girl who wrote to a large local business, explained what she wanted to do, why she was going etc. asking for a donation and they actually paid for her entire trip. Small businesses are overburdened with requests but large companies usually have a certain amount of money set aside for charitable giving. Definitely worth a try!

4) Garage Sale: Collect items from friends and neighbors and sell at a big garage sale. One person I know raised $1200 this way.

5) Bake Sale: A family last year loved to bake so they took orders for special events and delivered the evening before. For example, on Easter they took orders for cakes and hot cross buns. On Mother’s Day they took orders for Cinnamon rolls. Father’s Day, some other yummy thing. They raised thousands of dollars doing this.

6) Silent Auction: Can be combined with another event or you could do a dinner (anything from informal BBQ in someone’s backyard to black tie event). If you want to do something big with this, let us know, we can give you ideas. If done right these can raise up to $10,000 or more but require a lot of work.

7) Movie Night: 3 of our volunteers got together and held a family movie night at a local elementary school. They sold treats, charged a small ticket price to get in and showed a movie. They combined this with a silent auction. One popular item at their auction was 2 plane tickets and some art work by a local artist. So it pays to work your connections. They raised over $3000.

8) Kids’ Camp: During spring break one of our volunteers ran a kids camp from her home for 3 days. She charged per child and had them bring their own sack lunch while she provided all the activities. She raised $1200 this way.

9) Change for Change Jars: People have made “Spare change for Change” jars and put them at local businesses or at their work places. They’ve collected $100-$1000 that way.

10) Partnering with businesses: Some people have worked with their place of business or a local business to do a fundraiser like Chik-FilA, local restaurants, events at their business. One lady worked for a gym and they sponsored an event. They sold T-shirts and a portion of the proceeds went towards her expedition. Each of these events raised a few hundred dollars.

11) Fun Runs: Great way to raise money and awareness. The sky is the limit on these, though to be successful it can require a lot of preparation time.

12) Sporting Events: You can partner with a local high school’s sports team to raise funds at an upcoming game/event.

13) Daddy/Daughter Dance: Put on an event for Dad’s and their girls to dress up and have fun! Provide simple treats, a photo area and some great music and games. Our local high school does this and they raise thousands of dollars.

14) Hot Dog Sale: (Feed people) Find a busy place and set up your booth. Ask for donations of large quantities of hot dogs, buns, and condiments from local grocery stores or restaurants, or you can buy these yourself from wholesalers like Costco. Advertise your event well or set up in a space that gets a lot of foot traffic and begin selling. Be sure to tell everyone what you’re raising money for.

15) Family photos: Get a local photographer to donate their time and equipment and have your business, school, local church host a family photo day. Everyone can come and pay a low fee to have their picture taken and then provide prints (which can be donated by a local Walgreens or other print shop) or provide the digital files for families to get their own prints.

16) Hold a Parent’s Night Out (or sleepover?). Have teachers and parent volunteers chaperone as parents pay a fee to drop off their kids for a few hours or the whole night at the school’s gym, cafeteria or other large room. Feed the kids dinner, play games or screen a movie.

17) Tutoring

18)  Other: We’ve had people sell items from their garden, offer to babysit for donations, or use their talents to raise money doing benefit concerts, selling their artwork/crafts/sewing, raising chickens, baking birthday/speciality cakes etc.

19) Look online for more ideas: Here are a few I found:

“We just did a fundraiser at our local bowling place. Sold 84 tickets for $20 each which included 3 games and shoe rental. Profit was $16 per ticket. Banners were sold to local businesses for $50 each. Profit was $35 per banner. Then we held two 50/50 raffles netted $250. A local band even donated their time! Total profit was $2200 even after giving away $500 in cash prizes for 3 highest bowling scores!”

“Our Relay For Life team has a birdhouse auction every year. We provide plain wooden birdhouses to local artists and craftspersons. They decorate, paint or change the birdhouses as they choose. Then we have a live auction at a local restaurant. We raise over $6,000 every year.”

“Hold a sports tournament or trivia night. Charge $$ per team that enters. Organize the tournament and have medals for the winners”

 

How I Raised Over $8,700 in 4 weeks

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I don’t know how to fundraise.

I am by no means an expert. I have done it once about 15 years ago, but that’s it. For Mothers Without Borders I raised over $8,000 in just a couple of weeks and it was easy and I could have raised more if I hadn’t had to pack my bags and go on the long flight to Zambia. If I can do it as a busy mom of 3 with a full time job, you can do it.

kirsten-3
Here is how I did it:

1 – Get your contacts in order

Simply think about everybody you know. Make a list of all of your friends, Facebook connections, Co-workers, former co-workers, LinkedIn contacts, neighbors, former neighbors, family, acquaintances, kids’ friends’ parents, landlords, mechanics, vets, dentists, spouses’ friends, etc. Don’t think about if they might or might not give you money, just put them on the list. Also include businessesthat you frequently (or not so frequently) go to. I included my favorite sushi restaurant, grocery store, hair dresser, nail salon, my children’s school & daycare. And I didn’t stop there.

Now include everybody you don’t know: I hit-up the lady working at the library, and my dry cleaner. I literally had “guy at gas station” on my list. And then go even further:  I wrote to Michelle Obama. And even though I didn’t get a donation, I did get a letter from her secretary typed on pretty White House stationary. You might be surprised with how many people you come up with. I had no idea I was that popular, or sorta know 600 people.

2 – Find the best contact information

Once you have created a list of everyone you know (and don’t know), get their email addresses or mailing addresses. There is nothing more frustrating than being ready to hit the send button with your great letter and not being able to find the email address, which you know you have somewhere. Frankly, posting your cause on Facebookwon’t bring in the amount you need because it’s not personal (though it can help). I added everybody’s email to my list and if I didn’t have it I contacted each person asking for it. For the rare cases of people without email I noted down their mailing address.

3 – Write a great letter

I used the Mothers Without Borders letter draft and personalized it. See my email template here. A lot of people do not want to read about the facts/statistics in Africa, but care more about your connection/reasoning why you are doing this. Put in some humor if you can and keep it short. Include only the credit card info (most people will pay by credit card), otherwise it gets too long. If somebody wants to send a check they’ll come to you.kirsten-2

4 – Time to send emails

I copied and pasted the main letter into each email individually (I suck at merging), and also added a personal note to each and every single email. It took me about 8 hours to send my close to 600 emails. Time well spent!  For people whose email I didn’t have I printed the letter, included the payment slip and a prepaid envelope with my return address. I told them to just mail a check to me made out to MWB, and that I’ll do the rest. You want to make it easy and convenient for people.

5 – Most important: Follow up

I cannot stress enough how important follow up is. I followed up with each of my contacts, sometimes up to 10 times if they were stubborn and didn’t want to hand over the cash. And keep in mind that you only have a short window of follow up time. You don’t want your email to be buried in their inbox. I deleted all of my old, non-donation emails in my “sent” folder before I started. Then every few days I would bother MWB to get an updated donation list because if you don’t know who sent money you can’t follow up. I then deleted everybody in the sent box who sent money (after sending them aheartfelt thank you note of course).  And then I went every other day into the sent box and resent the emails to people I didn’t yet get donations from. At the beginning there were many, many, many emails to resend and very few people sent money right away. Most people need 2-3 reminders. But the list got shorter and shorter. I didn’t stop until I had a 100% response rate. Most people I asked for money sent me money. I know some of them did just so I would leave them alone. Keep in mind: you have nothing to lose. You already have the no, so why not go for the YES.

I also noticed that a good time to send your follow up email is on a late Friday night (this shows you my busy social life). That way people will have it on Saturday morning when they don’t receive as many emails as they do on a weekday. And, with nothing else to do that morning and in a good mood because they slept in, they willpull out their credit card and get it over with.kirsten-4

6 – What to do when you get rejected

When you receive a “No, sorry I can’t donate” – don’t panic! It’s okay. Life goes on. However, I would reply by saying “Ok. I understand. Times are tough. However, enough about you, could you be so kind and forward my email to a handful of your friends, maybe they will donate.” This way I received donations from people who I didn’t even know and it took some detective work to find out where they came from (you then want to also thank that person who set this up).

7 – Don’t be afraid to ask! And don’t be afraid to ask for more

I had a case where a wealthy person gave me a generous yet lower than expected donation. When I called him to thank him I respectfully suggested doubling his donation and he did! I know not everybody is comfortable by doing that, but maybe try it out. Get out of your comfort zone (there is no learning in your comfort zone and very little comfort in your learning zone – just one of the brilliant principles I learned in Zambia). Also some people might surprise you. I got donations from around the world, some from people I had only met once or twice, some so generous that it blew my mind.

8 – Send updates

I sent monthly updates to my supporters (countdown how much longer until my trip and how much money I had raised) and that prompted a few people to donate again when they saw that I still needed more money.  (Also remember to send them a report and pictures upon your return)kirsten-1

9 – Final thoughts

Newsflash: It turns out: People are good. People want to help. Mothers Without Borders is such a great cause, it speaks to everyone. My largest donation surprisingly came from a hard working Argentinian woman who doesn’t have children and barely knows me. I learned that people do not necessarily want to make the trip to Zambia (in fact very few do), but are thankful that you will and therefore will support you.

That is my input. I know this sounds like a lot of work, but if I can do it (busy mom of 3 with a full time job) you can do it. And it’s time well spent. Trust me!  I hope you find it helpful. Please contact me directly at Kirstenglass2010@gmail.com if you have any questions and/or if I can help you in any way–it would be my pleasure!

Much Love,

Kirsten